Stephen Smith in Esquire:
“Who’s behind me?” hisses Martin Scorsese with a voice like bologna hitting a hot skillet. “I’m Sicilian. We don’t sit with our backs to the door. We never sit with our backs to the door. Who’s behind me? Who’s got my back?”
This is the way you dreamed it would go down, of course. The sit-down: the milk-fed veal, the carmine carafes, the rubber of post-prandial card games abruptly abandoned. The diminutive figure of the maestro bristles across the table from you. As he reacts to the sound of voices from the darkened doorway, a tremor of unease transmits itself through Scorsese’s people, his crew.
The director himself reaches for his piece. You watch in astonishment as the garlanded Hollywood insider fingers the barrel of his… inhaler.
It’s nighttime in New York City, and Scorsese has called a meeting at a favorite low-key joint a block or two from his home. But instead of the spaghetti house straight out of the old country, this is a chintzy suite in a boutique hotel, with its surprising lacunae: the pelmets concealing foxed wainscoting, the MDF boxing and panelling that shuts away eyesore cables.
The filmmaker, 72, is briefly between pictures, the gab and hustle for his most recent outing The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) is behind him, and he is generously putting aside some time after standing me up on a previous date.